Controlling Social Media Usage

controlling social media usage

This being the fourth week in January, many people are making resolutions to improve their lives. Your resolution could be social media-related, as many people use the various platforms too much and want to cut back. I found myself in that position too a few years ago. This article is about controlling social media usage.

Twitter was my go-to social media platform of choice. And I ended up using it way too much. I had the app on my phone but I also used the desktop version. But I enjoyed using the phone app more because I could open it up during a lull at work or while waiting in general, and just scroll. My usage went from actually reading the tweets and thoughtful interaction to mindless scrolling. And I remember several instances where I did just that: Mindlessly scrolling while I sat there staring at my screen. Eventually, I didn’t like how I interacted with Twitter. Also, I didn’t like how the app made me feel. That’s when I knew controlling my social media usage would resolve those interactions and feelings.

Controlling Social Media Usage Solution #1: Stop Using Social Media

I know many people are not going to like this route, but it’s the one I took: I deleted both my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I deleted Facebook first in early 2018 because I was tired of the platform. I didn’t see the use of it anymore, and I didn’t care what my friends were up to. And, frankly, I signed up to see what the people I went to high school and college were up to. Yes, I was nosy. Eventually, though, my Facebook feed became a photo gallery of children reaching milestones, couples going on vacation and pictures of recently-bought cars and/or houses. None of that interested me.

Twitter was a different story, though, I signed up for the platform in late 2017 and really enjoyed my time there. I deleted my account after much thought and introspection in late 2018. And, to be honest, I felt bad doing so. Most because I work at Twitter and felt like a traitor. I didn’t tell anyone I deleted my account, and luckily many coworkers didn’t ask about it either. However, in late 2019 I signed up for a Twitter account again.

Now, if you don’t want to go my route, I understand. Many people use social media to stay connected with family, friends, coworkers, and others. But if you find yourself looking at your phone more and more everyday instead of interacting physically with your family and friends, then you need to step away from social media. The break can be a few hours or even a whole day. How long the break is your choice, but you need to take one!

Controlling Social Media Usage Solution #2: Remove Apps From Your Phone

A great way of controlling social media is by removing the apps from your phone. Why? Because you won’t have easy access to use the platforms.

Instead, you will have to use the Web version. And that takes more time to use because you have to open your browser, type in the URL (or access your bookmarks / favorites), and login. Finally, the web versions are usually different than the mobile app versions, and the functionality is different. Due to this difference, you may not use the Web versions as much.

Solution #3: Enact Time-Limits

So let’s say you don’t want to implements solutions #1 or #2. That’s fine, as this solution will help you with controlling your social media usage by putting hard time-limits when you use the platforms.

It doesn’t matter if you use the apps on your phone or the Web versions. Just enact a time-line on how long you can use the app. It can be as little as 5 minutes or as long as 30 minutes. I suggest aiming for 10 to 15 minutes per platform, as I think that would give you plenty of time to view what’s going on in your feed, and for you to feel satisfied.

Now if you have several social media accounts, you can’t check each one back-to-back-to-back. That’s not controlling your social media usage at all. If you devote 10 minutes to each and you check three accounts, you just spent 30 minutes looking at your phone.

What I recommend instead is to do is check each account at different times of the day. You could check one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.

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